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America, Kashgar, less food-related, out and about, travel

Junkyards and Uighur Bagels

05.07.11 | 4 Comments

In February, my parents went to Byromville, Georgia to attend the funeral of my mother’s uncle, Haessler, and to attend to his estate. After much goading and persuasion, my father has written a guest post about Byromville, and he took some pretty nice shots to go with it. So everyone, please welcome the man who still calls me Girlie, my dad, Dan Friedman. ~ellis

About 30 years ago Lisa and I went to Byromville, Georgia, where her mother lived, and where Lisa spent summers when she was growing up.

Byromville, Georgia

I remember the town being small and like a foreign country. It was the sleepy, mysterious small Southern town I’d seen in movies or read about in books where outsiders are rare. Small towns and foreign countries photograph better than new, large cities like Phoenix. Small towns in decline with visible marks of wear and tear are especially fertile ground for photographers.The years leave their mark on people, buildings and the landscape. Junkyards are fun too. junkyard cat

New cities just look too plain and sterile. The mundane shot of the Phoenix Airport economy parking lot where construction of a new Sky Train is in full swing, is banal, but man, when it starts to crumble, the paint flakes, rust streaks create graphic relief, it’ll be awesome…photographically.

East Economy Lot Phoenix Sky Harbor

The downtown of Byromville, whose better days have long gone looks more interesting, peaceful, and with a certain texture that new Phoenix will never have.

downtown Byromville The large trees, the lonely row of stores, weathered everything. Nice.

flecked paint

The railroad tracks split the town in half between black and white.

Byromville train tracks
Fortunately, the “black side” of town looks a lot nicer now than it did 30 years ago.

I do remember there was a dog sleeping on the sidewalk downtown. When we were there in February, there was still a dog sleeping on the sidewalk downtown.

main street dog

I also remember Lisa’s “Granddaddy’s” house that still had the old furniture even though her grandparents had passed away some years before. Now though, the lot where the house was is completely overgrown as the house was razed some years ago. Lisa walked around, unhappy that the landmarks where she had spent summers were blotted out.

Trees and shrubs have completely overtaken the lot now. The only thing left is the steps leading up to the house.

When Ellis and I were in Kashgar, Xinjiang Province, in western China, it was a photographer’s paradise. More exotic than Byromville, but like Byromville, visitors feel their foreigness.

These old guys were arguing about something while the other guy laid out the day’s “Uighur Bagels” which they baked in a wood-burning oven behind them. The old city was literally falling apart and it looked exotic, more exotic than Byromville, in rural Georgia, but they both cling to the past. Kashgar is losing it’s battle as the Han Chinese demolish the crumbling old city and put up sterile new buildings while in Byromville, people just leave for opportunities elsewhere unless they happen to be cotton farmers.

Anyone interested in writing a guest post on Plate of Wander, please email ellis (at) plateofwander (dot) com. Conversely, if you are interested in having ellis or Dan write a guest post for your blog, please email the address above.

See Dan’s work at thircareer.com

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